Early Support’s West Midlands Regional Facilitator, Fiona Holmes, gives us an update on the highlights from her extremely busy Solihull diary!
I had a really productive meetings in December with Mrs Nicholls, Head Teacher at Dickens Heath and Mr Tunstall, Head Teacher at Yorkswood. This continued into the New Year and to date the schools I have spoken to include:
· Mill Lodge Primary School
· Valley Infants School
The Schools Project is exploring ways in which schools can implement an ‘Early Support for Children Young People and Families’ approach on their own and in partnership with Achievement For All. An outcome of this work will be a pathway for schools to follow and a series of case studies. The project is making good progress and I intend to give an update in the next issue of ‘In Principle’ outlining how this project is progressing. We have had interest from schools in Telford, Worcestershire, Birmingham and Hereford which I am following all up eagerly.
I am excited about the way schools are tackling the implementation of the Early Support approach and making links with other strands of work. They really see the interconnection with agendas such as The Green Paper Pathfinder, Troubled Families agenda, Early Intervention, Health Outcomes and LINCS (local, integrated, needs led, coordinated support and integrated pathway using the Common Assessment Framework) and want to look at how, through this project, we can work ‘Lean’ and ‘Bring It All Together’.
The best term I can find to describe what I hear and see going on within this project is that these Schools ‘get it’ and so do their parents.
Let me know how you would like me to help you to get involved and understand more about what we are doing?
In addition to the wonderful online initiative in which you are reading this update, we are also using Twitter and Facebook to spread the word to parents, and there is a national e-bulletin.
Like’ Early Support on Facebook,
Follow us on Twitter @EarlySupport , sign up to our national e-bulletin and check out our website.
For a more regional focus join me in discussions on Twitter @FiHolmes_ES and see our page on the Solihull web site. I have been tweeting about the Principles and I would love you all to help me in an online conversation sharing good practice.
Regionally the feedback has been that promoting a large conference is not the best way to get people together, but that the idea of inviting people to smaller workshops and discussion groups in order to unite strands of work and discuss common issues seems to hold more interest.
We are working in partnership with the East Midlands region and holding small events once a month, starting in March, across the whole of the midlands. Interest has been shown in discussions that focus on
- A single plan;
- An introduction to the Early Support App;
- Schools and how Early Support can support parental participation, better use of resources, early intervention and better outcomes for children young people and families;
- The Local Offer
- Embedding the Early Support approach within an authority.
If you would like a focus on something and/or we could combine some of our work with what you have going on – let me know.
We have £1,000 for each event.
Thank you to Dave, Tony and Nikki for being involved in the Regional Conference organised by IMPACT. You helped me so much. The video was great. Thank you also to Jeannette Essex, our Green Paper Pathfinder Lead, who spoke at the event.
I am working closely with the Family Information Service to look at how Early Support can be shared regionally using our web site as a hub. We are linking with other web sites across the region to promote our work. One size does not fit all and we are going where the interest is – spreading it about a bit!
I have had meetings with Public Health, Adult Services, Schools, Childcare Settings, Pathfinder Lead and many others. This piece of work has shown me the importance of thinking laterally and communicating both horizontally and vertically.
Our voice has been heard nationally through feedback via email. A special thanks to all those who have fed back on different items sent through from the central team and through our continued presence at national meetings. I would like to thank Kim and Eileen for the opportunity that we have had to get involved. I would like to support more of the region to feedback and I am developing 4 authority case studies to support this. If you would like to be a case study please let me know and I will work with you to make this happen.
Filming and Photographs
It is Solihull children that are featured in many of the photographs that Early Support use for celebration and advocacy. These photographs are a resource that we can use across the region. It has made a real difference to the way I communicate because many of the families are known to us in Solihull. Please visit the Early Support web site and look. It made me very proud (emotional moment!).
Youth Friendly film crews are coming to Solihull to video our work in February. Part of Signpost Inclusion’s work is to support this to happen. They are already talking with the Renewal Centre regarding its use as a venue for the video making. Watch this space for some amazing work.
Solihull parents were involved in developing their own film that was showcased at the conference. Made with no budget they took on the challenge of sharing their voice. The results can be seen on the Early Support Web site and in the December issue of In Principle Magazine.
In partnership with Signpost Inclusion we are creating:
- Twelve case studies looking at families in Solihull;
- Case studies of 8 schools from the Schools Project (this will include a Pathway for implementing Early Support and case studies of families and young people);
- Case studies of four authorities – Solihull is one;
- A case study of Signpost Inclusion and a “How To” guide for creating sustainable training
- A Case Study of a Service
Visits to other local authorities
I have now contacted each of the local authorities in the West Midlands and visited all but two – I have learnt so much. The work that I am doing will be shared by the authorities themselves through this magazine. If you would like me to ask questions on your behalf whilst I am on my travels, or through my other communication strands, then let me know. I would also like to be able to use your regional and local links in order to identify the people I should be talking with next. If this is of interest to you then perhaps we can get together?
Parent Forum Training (MAPIT)
Hayley Moran, the Chair of SolihullCAN our Parent Forum, has supported me to think differently about the MAPIT (Multi Agency Planning and Improvement Tool) Training. Following discussions with her we have successfully negotiated time to train through our Parent Forums across the West Midlands. What better legacy can Early Support leave in September than that of better informed, vocal and committed parents? This training starts in January.
I am already working with one of our Commissioners, Julie Hackett, to develop the parental consultation for our Short Breaks strategy by combining it with our local Multi Agency Planning and Implementation training for our Parent Forum. Good ideas come from a collective brain! If you would like to use some of my time to support your Parent Forum use the Multi Agency Planning tool on an area of strategy or to increase awareness of EArly Support and the Principles then let me know. Each authority (in partnership with their Parent Forum) has access to a half day session. I am advertising this through each authorities Parent Forum.
All schools in the Schools Project will be using MAPIT to help evaluate progress and track achievement against a baseline. The Specialist Inclusion Support Service is also using it to support service development.
Each authority needs to think carefully about who it will sign post to this training. Solihull has identified one of its commissioners. Who will you choose to undertake the Capacity Building Training? Contact your Regional Facilitator for advice.
Early Support and Key Working (Single Plan and Transition into Adulthood)
Across the country we have Early Support and Key working Training available. You can access it at any venue. Hereford has spaces and we are putting on an extra venue in Birmingham. Each authority needs to identify two people to attend the Early Support and Key Working capacity building training but to do this they must attend the regional training. Solihull has identified the key people who will disseminate the training. We have chosen a mixture of professionals an parents. I will be the trainer at some events an I am looking forward to meeting some of you.
In Solihull these are being delivered through a partnership between partner agencies and services and Signpost Inclusion. The workshops are the backbone to the success of Early Support. In Solihull this work is driven by parents and is for parents. It includes additional work supporting parents’ groups, Solihull CAN, work with children’s centres and more. If you are interested in everything they do go please talk to the parents and volunteers involved with Signpost Inclusion. I know they would like to thank schools, children’s centres, the Renewal Centre, SISS and many more people for the partnership work that they have been involved in.
We now have three trained trainers of trainers in Solihull (What a mouthful!). Two of them are parents; Lisa and Nikki. They will be involved in the national roll out.
You can find out other training and resources available from the Early Support central team on the Early Support web site and through our Family Information Service web site.
I would just like to thank everyone for their support but take time for a particular mention to the parents who support me every step of the way. Thank you to Zoe, Nikki, Lisa, Tony, Corinne and Hayley. Without you, the parents that support me, I would be without engine, rudder and wheel.